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11-22-08, 11:24 PM #1
New AG Choice, Eric Holder, Advocated To Stifle Speech On Web
In April 1999, the Columbine High School massacre happened. The shooters, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, reportedly learned how to construct sophisticated bombs through their internet activity. This discovery caused then Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder to say the following(audio)
The court has really struck down every government effort to try to regulate it. We tried with regard to pornography. It is gonna be a difficult thing, but it seems to me that if we can come up with reasonable restrictions, reasonable regulations in how people interact on the Internet, that is something that the Supreme Court and the courts ought to favorably look at. - May 28, 1999 NPR Morning EditionAs tragic as Columbine was, Holder’s reaction to stifle free speech on the internet is nonetheless disturbing. Combine his zeal for what he may consider “reasonable regulations” along with his advocacy for a federal hate crime law(H/T to National Review), and internet users may find themselves in a world of legal woe after the Obama administration takes over in January.
11-23-08, 02:15 AM #2
wow.Do not war for peace. If you must war, war for justice. For without justice there is no peace. -me
We are who we choose to be.
R.I.P. Arielle. 08/20/2010-09/16/2012
11-23-08, 02:30 AM #3
I'm of the opinion those calling for Net Neutrality are playing right into this hand. They'll say it's an entirely different discussion, but many programs have started off well intentioned and small - like that camel's nose under the tent.
11-24-08, 05:17 AM #4
This columnist isn't a loon, and what's happening in Australia today may well be on our doorstep soon. Australians, other than being upside down, aren't all that different from the rest of us.
Net filter an assault on freedom that just won't work
THE internet has transformed our lives. Vast reservoirs of information are now accessible in an instant. It has revolutionised business, government, education and entertainment.
In a few clicks of the mouse we can find the answer to seemingly any question. It also only takes a few clicks of the mouse to access content that most of us would consider undesirable and offensive – pornography, extreme violence, drug use and racial vilification.
For this reason the Australian Government is committed to introducing its radical and ill-conceived regulatory proposal to filter the internet.
The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, has said the proposed mandatory internet filtering will have two tiers – one level of mandatory filtering for all Australians blocking "illegal content" such as child pornography, and an optional level that will provide a "clean feed", censoring adult material.
This appears to be a desirable policy. Who wouldn't want to ensure children can safely surf the net? And who would rationally argue for the right to access child pornography?
So it is regrettable much of the public debate on this issue has at times degenerated into hyperbole, overshadowing the cogent arguments on both sides of the issue.
For example, those wanting mandatory internet filtering have claimed that opponents to the proposal are pro-child pornography. Those against the proposal argue that Australia is introducing a level of censorship akin to the Great Firewall of China. Whatever the respective merits of these claims, there is little to be gained from analysing them in any detail. Instead, I wish to explain why the Government's proposal is a mistake – in principle and in practice.
As a liberal democracy Australia rightly values free speech and eschews the notion that the government should control what information we are able to access. Yet the introduction of mandatory internet filtering gives the government the power to do exactly that.
It can be argued that free speech is never absolute and that there is always a role for government intervention. That is why, after all, we have defamation and obscenity laws. However, those laws do not impose prior restraint on publication.
As a matter of principle I am personally affronted by the notion of any government censorship of information, but it is perfectly legitimate for people to believe that the government should regulate access to information in certain circumstances.
However, even if we accept that censorship is legitimate in certain circumstances, the current Government's policy of mandatory internet filtering is practically flawed for several reasons.
It is impossible for the Government to block every website with illegal or inappropriate material. This just gives parents a false impression the internet is safe for their children and abrogates their responsibility to monitor their child's internet usage. Parental supervision is the only way to ensure that children do not access offensive or inappropriate material.
The Government's own testing has revealed that the technology is flawed: it blocks content that should not be blocked, it is unable to block peer-to-peer traffic that comprises of more than 60 per cent of Australia's internet traffic and it can be easily avoided through the use of an encrypted Virtual Private Network.
Government testing has also indicated that the filter might slow internet speeds by up to 70 per cent. It is somewhat ironic that the same Government that is committed to a National Broadband Network would also slow internet speeds by insisting on a technologically flawed model of government censorship.
After rational analysis, it is clear that the Government should rethink both the principle and practicalities of this politically popular, yet fatally flawed, policy.
Peter Black lectures in internet law at the Queensland University of Technology and blogs at www.freedomtodiffer.com
11-24-08, 10:05 AM #5
Regulate? The govt knows what is best for you, for you are not competent to choose. . Then your email can be charged "postage". You will have to "register" your on-line equipment. Then you can be "licensed" and assessed with another tax. Then your "content" can be "monitored". Then your "suitability" can be "approved" and your "access" controlled. "License" will require "renewal", regulatory fees increased on "approval".
Who, and "what" will be "approved?"
Outcome: then your speech can be controlled, you can be made dependent on the govt to exercise a right guaranteed elsewhere. That right will be regulated.
Spin off: more "promised" jobs in govt for the "regulators". Adminstrators can be selectively employed for "security" reasons. Business, communications, industry, or user sectors need not apply, they don't have the "insight" that is found in a DC beltway law school graduate.
Have you read the list of your rights? How was it taught to you in school? Do you know where you can locate that information now? Who holds the key to your access now, and who will have control in the near future?
Control: that is really what it's all about. Is this a Bill of Rights issue? Have your rights been redefined to make this "legal"?
Looks perfectly clear what is going on. Let's all get in line to register our guns.Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts. And we are never, ever the same.-- Anonymous
Old People, like me, may not be around to witness the destruction of our Nation. The rest of you may not survive the collapse. We all have the sworn duty to prevent it.
The light of hope burns brighter than the fires of doom.
11-24-08, 03:00 PM #6
While Australia is setting up their filters, our cousins in the UK are considering this.
Government black boxes will 'collect every email'
Home Office says all data from web could be stored in giant government database
Internet "black boxes" will be used to collect every email and web visit in the UK under the Government's plans for a giant "big brother" database, The Independent has learnt.
Home Office officials have told senior figures from the internet and telecommunications industries that the "black box" technology could automatically retain and store raw data from the web before transferring it to a giant central database controlled by the Government.
Plans to create a database holding information about every phone call, email and internet visit made in the UK have provoked a huge public outcry. Richard Thomas, the Information Commissioner, described it as "step too far" and the Government's own terrorism watchdog said that as a "raw idea" it was "awful".
Nevertheless, ministers have said they are committed to consulting on the new Communications Data Bill early in the new year. News that the Government is already preparing the ground by trying to allay the concerns of the internet industry is bound to raise suspicions about ministers' true intentions. Further details of the database emerged on Monday at a meeting of internet service providers (ISPs) in London where representatives from BT, AOL Europe, O2 and BSkyB were given a PowerPoint presentation of the issues and the technology surrounding the Government's Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP), the name given by the Home Office to the database proposal.
Whitehall experts working on the IMP unit told the meeting the security and intelligence agencies wanted to use the stored data to help fight serious crime and terrorism, and said the technology would allow them to create greater "capacity" to monitor all communication traffic on the internet. The "black boxes" are an attractive option for the internet industry because they would be secure and not require any direct input from the ISPs.
During the meeting Whitehall officials also tried to reassure the industry by suggesting that many smaller ISPs would be unaffected by the "black boxes" as these would be installed upstream on the network and hinted that all costs would be met by the Government.
"It was clear the 'back box' is the technology the Government will use to hold all the data. But what isn't clear is what the Home Secretary, GCHQ and the security services intend to do with all this information in the future," said a source close to the meeting.
He added: "They said they only wanted to return to a position they were in before the emergence of internet communication, when they were able to monitor all correspondence with a police suspect. The difference here is they will be in a much better position to spy on many more people on the basis of their internet behaviour. Also there's a grey area between what is content and what is traffic. Is what is said in a chat room content or just traffic?"
Ministers say plans for the database have not been confirmed, and that it is not their intention to introduce monitoring or storage equipment that will check or hold the content of emails or phonecalls on the traffic.
A spokesman for the Home Office said that Monday's meeting provided a "chance to engage with small communication service providers" ahead of the formal public consultation next year. He added: "We need to work closely with the internet service providers and the communication service providers. The meeting was to show the top-line challenges faced in the future. We are public about the IMP, but we are still working out the detail. There will a consultation on the Communications Data Bill early next year."
A spokesman for the Internet Service Providers Association said the organisation was pleased the Home Office had addressed its members and was keen to continue dialogue while awaiting a formal consultation.
Database plans were first announced by the Prime Minister in February. It is not clear where the records will be held but GCHQ may eventually be the project's home.
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